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Healthy packed lunches as recommended by the British Nutrition Foundation

There are currently no regulations regarding the types of foods that can be included in school packed lunches, although many schools have policies in place, so it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with your child’s school packed lunch policy as some food items maybe restricted.

Below are some guidelines on how to put together a healthy, balanced packed lunch – these follow the principles of the UK healthy eating model, the Eatwell Guide:

A school packed lunch should:

Be based on starchy foods

  • This can include  pasta, bread, wraps, pitta, potatoes and chapatti and where possible try to choose wholegrain varieties, e.g. wholemeal bread and leave skins on potatoes.

Include plenty of fruit and vegetables

  • Include 1-2 portions in your child’s lunch box and try to vary these throughout the week.
  • You could add sliced vegetables into a pasta dish or sandwich.
  • Supermarkets often have packs of chopped fresh fruits or individual packs of dried fruits. Keep  some of these in the cupboard for those days when you don’t have much time to prepare.

Top tip: Make your own individual bags of dried fruit - place a small handful of mixed dried fruits, into food bags or sealed containers to store in the cupboard, this will also keep the costs down!

Include a portion of beans, fish, eggs, meat, a dairy food and/or a non-dairy source of protein

  • Use beans, fish, eggs, meat and other sources of protein as sandwich fillings or in a pasta salad.
  • If you’re not including a dairy food in the main lunch item (e.g. in a salad or sandwich), add in a yogurt or some cheese such as a cheddar stick or cheese string to the lunch box.
  • If you’re including a dairy alternative, e.g. soya yogurt or milk, choose varieties which are unsweetened and fortified with calcium.

Include a drink

  • Healthy options include water, semi-skimmed or 1% milk



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